When we began our homeschooling lifestyle about twelve years ago, it was just that - a lifestyle. There were two little children ready to explore the world and soak it all in. There were days filled with playing and pretending, regular trips to the library, lots of arts and crafts, and plenty of snuggle time. The days were more carefree, and spontaneous field trips, nature walks and trips to the park were the norm. Over time two more children came along and as the older kids began to reach middle school, I became certain we needed more structure, more discipline. After all, we live in this world and we have to be able to measure up to their standard, or do we? So homeschooling became a list of things for each child to check off everyday so he/she could be done and have free time. Well, needless to say schooling has become a little tiresome and instead of loving to learn and longing to know more, we just want to hurry through it so we can put a check mark on our list.
This is definitely not what I had envisioned back in those early years when everyday was an adventure.
So we are returning to the beginning. Instead of checking off things on a list, each child has goals for the week. The goals aren't about how many pages to read or the number of lessons to complete (except for math), but the topics to learn about. And when they write their journal entries, I don't want to know how many chapters you've read - I want to know what you learned.
We have been schooling this way again for almost two weeks and I must admit that while I was very afraid of breaking out of my boxes (there is a lot of comfort in those boxes), it is going very well. I have actually gotten more learning out of them in the last couple of weeks than I have all school year. I am beginning to see the motivation to actually absorb what they are studying, not just mark it off never to remember it again. In addition, we are writing more, even me.
So begins our new adventure - we'll let you know how it goes.